FEBRUARY 13, 2019 — D*O*W*N*H*I*L*L SKIING!

Last December I received two challenges to explore downhill skiing, one from my children ages 11 and 14 who both wanted to “try it out for themselves" this winter [NONE of us had downhill skied before], and one from my girlfriend who is an excellent long-time skier. I embraced the challenge and got gear for us all. Now after seven slope days my kids are skiing “Blue” confidently and exploring the fun of "glades"(!), and after myself having 20 slope days i have both found the skis I like and had the courage to try a Black Diamond at Loon Mountain this past weekend!! For myself, I have very carefully cultivated a balance on the skill/speed seesaw for safety, and developed a skill-set that allows control and speed and confidence. Oh YEAH BABY, I am skiing fast and skillfully and I thank my hips for allowing this new fun in to my life!!!!

LAKE GEORGE — JULY 2018 — I have had another wonderful year of exploration and fun! This summer I am blessed with an invite to a lakeshore weekend on Lake George in New York and I am encouraged to explore the active sport of water skiing!! Sure! Of course! Something new for my wonderful active self to “try out”! I have only downhill skied one season in my life (when Boston got 7 feet of snow just three years back) yet i have had decades of successful cross-country and back-country skiing. 

So, with the encouragement of my close friend Suzy, I get into the cold water and suddenly POW!! and I am UP on the water SKIING!! Circle after circle I stayed up! To the point of my arms saying “ENOUGH!!” yet my legs never tired. 

The photo I posted here above is of Suzy on the line as I have no photos of me. She is an avid skier from childhood, as you can easily see. Although I did not yet enter the slalom world yet as she is doing here, she says that I look very ready for my next time out.

I’M READY!!!

And I thank my hips again for the many miles that I hike and climb and bicycle and NOW water ski!!!

NORTH CONWAY — JULY 2017 — My climbing summers continue to excel and I want to add an update to this blog. This summer I found a wonderful moment in New Hampshire, a chance I have not had in years, and two great climbs resulted! My repeat of the eight pitch climb LAKEVIEW on Cannon and my first time on the fantastic BOOK OF SOLEMNITY at Cathedral. 

I last did LAKEVIEW in 1982 when the OLD MAN IN THE MOUNTAIN, the iconic New Hampshire profile, was still up there!! This route climbs right up to the profile and we could see all the cables and water troughs on top that the civil engineers had installed to help keep this iconic profile from falling — obviously “working” as we saw the pile of rubble still stacked loosely as it magically formed a man’s face profile silhouette when seen from Profile Lake (see photo), and somehow this pile of rubble, as it appeared from our climbing view on the backside, was staying up there. Quite a site! As I viewed the rubble I felt that it was clearly only a matter of time no matter what the engineers would do to try and keep it from falling! 

My climb this time was with a great partner and we had it in us to FLY up this time, and indeed we did, three and half hours car to car for this eight pitch (1000’ climb) to the top — FAST!! Hardly time to even tie in for the belays! —To me, I had to make it down in time for a New York hot date!! And what did we find on top? Now with the profile gone — yes it fell in a huge 2003 rockfall at the surprise of EVERYONE! — this same spot on top of LAKEVIEW now has a stream of loose cables haphazardly dangling over the edge from where the profile once was.

My other climb, THE BOOK OF SOLEMNITY, is a two pitch 5.10a that I somehow missed in my earlier years and now I FINALLY had a chance to get on it. It includes a stellar stem corner crux (see photo) that I have ALWAYS wanted to try. My feet stayed on throughout and the climbing was easy.  I am grateful that I am fit enough to climb as well and/or better than as when I was twenty! 

Both events possible with flawless hip joints — now six and seven years out — feeling, as always, completely seamless. OH HAPPY DAY!!

MT. WASHINGTON — Sept. 2016 — Highest mountain in the east, with an Auto Road and a Cog Railway and many many hiking trails to the summit of 6288 feet, and with the worst recorded weather in the world. I am inspired to hike to the top today! I choose a 4.5 mile trail gaining in elevation a total of 4200 feet from Pinkham Notch visitor’s Center. I have friends that are already half way up and soon will begin a rock climb of the 1000 foot Pinnacle Buttress so I decided to hike a neighboring trail to get photographs of their ascent. WAY COOL!! This trail is the HUNTINGTON RAVINE trail which actually seems like a rock climb in itself. Yes, it goes straight up through a rock headwall in Huntington’s Ravine with some very steep climbing by hiking standards!! So I move quickly so I can catch them on their climb!! While rock climbing, they will move slower than I, yet they began much earlier than I. So I basically run the first mile, while the trail is low enough and wide enough to allow. Then with my pace established in my body I could maintain it through my breath such that three of the four and half miles were done in less than an hour. Yes, I was MOVING! Great photos were had (some posted above) and then I had a more relaxed hike to the summit for the best hot dogs ANYWHERE! Then a relaxed hike down choosing the Boot Spur trail for the great views. All total of 8500 feet elevation change and 9 miles, left Pinkham at 8am, down by 5pm. Stiff and sore calf muscles next morning for SURE!! But why stop when the weather is still good and I am still in New Hampshire so I get a friend to climb 500 feet of the exciting friction slabs of SLIDING BOARD on the Whitehorse cliff. Finally I call it “done” for the weekend and home I go to teach the first taiji class of this Fall season. I LOVE BEING SO ACTIVE!! I LOVE HAVING HIPS AND LEGS THAT ARE SO STRONG!! OH HAPPY DAY!!

FIVE YEAR FOLLOW-UP — Yes, it is September 2016 and it is time to see the ‘Doc’ again, he wanted a “FIVE YEAR” follow-up appointment, and now that i am actually six years out from the first mini-hip, i finally scheduled one for this past week. With the x-ray image in hand (on screen), the ‘Doc’ drew his alignment lines and showed me what he was looking for, the symmetrical “picnic table” figure, which shows that my hips are in alignment with no signs of wear to the mini-hip. He then pointed to these “whispy whites” on the x-ray along the prothesis edges which shows the good bone growth in to the titanium. He listened to my stories of my “usual life” of adventuring, same stories you can read about in this blog, and says “Keep doing what you are doing, and come back in five years”. I asked for what he would call a caution sign, and he spoke about the mechanics of wear that this mini-hip is designed for and should any signs develop then he wants to notice it early, hence another five year interval for the next x-ray.

These are happy words for me to hear. I have felt no concern and I have felt so limitation and I have felt that all is well and this office visit confirms this feeling with an x-ray peek within. NICE!

So, as i re-read my blog stories here, and i consider my adventure histories, I feel inspired to repeat one of the adventures — my bicycle ride up Mt. Greylock — a story that actually never made it to this Blog since it was from before I began this Blog. This story is only a small line-item on the RIGHT HIP milestones page on this site in the entry for the  ‘5-10 WEEK SUMMARY’ paragraph.

And the story is... "On July 4, 2011, I bicycled up Notch Road to the summit of Mt. Greylock, highest point in Massachusetts, with a rise of 2100' in 6.7 miles. Being nine months out on my first hip yet only ten weeks out on my second hip, I may have been a little crazy however it all felt so good and I felt so inspired that I just knew it must be one of those alignment moments and that the trip would go well — so off i went — and indeed the trip DID go VERY WELL as you can see in my smile in the photo!" The posted photo above is from 2011 and shows the Mt. Greylock Summit Tower in the background.

Now, my repeat ride that I just completed last week, was in celebration of the five year follow-up, a celebration of a five year anniversary — July 4, 2011 to September 2, 2016 — and i posted a photo of this ride above which shows the same Summit Tower but now with scaffolding all around it so that it looks like a Space Shuttle Launch Site! The tower is undergoing renovation this summer, inside and out, and is due to open in the coming Spring.

Again, my ride is 6.5 miles from base to summit with a 2100’ elevation gain. I cycled up this in 90 minutes, felt no need to stop to rest, felt no soreness or tiredness, and was not sore the next day. Indeed, I am strong. NICE! This ride was different than the 2011 ride because then my hips were quite new and i was quite unsure about all these new feelings. This 2016 ride was with complete ease and confidence from several years now of complete ease and confidence in these hips. I still like reading these older stories as in them I can still feel the older feelings and I appreciate knowing the contrast as this helps me continue my love of my health and my body. And Yes, I DO LOVE ADVENTURE!! Cheers to you all!!

Boulder Flatirons AGAIN! — August 02, 2016

I see that it has been two years since my last BLOG entry and this leaves room for those people with interest in my hip replacements to ask again “how are you doing with your new hips?”. Often these inquiries want specifics and giving specifics of my adventures is what this BLOG is all about. 

Briefly i will say that the past two years have been filled with lovely living, as were the prior years, with this living being up to the standards of activity that i now have re-grown accustomed to, and with no single ONE thing as a significant ‘new benchmark’, i have not written any new blog posts. I guess at this FIVE year mark i see that my previous years have shown ever newer and bigger adventures, whereas these last two years have been filled with what has become ‘usual’ now for me and i actually LOVE that i am saying this. I climb each year, at a high level, i bike, i swim, i skate in the winter months, and sex is in there, too :) ALL the things we want a healthy pelvis to do.

I write this blog entry because this year I found myself in Colorado AGAIN, just like two years ago, and my choice was to climb in the Boulder area AGAIN, and i found time to climb the Flatirons AGAIN! My, how sweet it is, how sweet it is.

I found ALL of the Flatiron routes of my trip two years ago to be delightful, yet it is clear that the climb on the THIRD stands by itself in my mind for greatness! So, i found a free day and did it again. I am amazed that I can climb 1000 feet in about 30 minutes. After a 40 minute quick (slow!) hike-in on a very hot afternoon, i began my climbing, passing a face full of climbers, then completed my three raps down and the hike off which this time includes a bushwhack back to the East Bench to retrieve my water bottle — all in under 2 hours — and SURPRISE, i find a very good friend from back on the East Coast at the base just beginning a roped ascent from the East Bench!! What a surprise encounter!!! Now at the sharp end of her rope is someone i wish to meet yet he is already up a rope’s length, so… i look at the weather, i look at the time, i see that all looks well, so… i start up AGAIN!! YEAH!! I say a warm ‘Hello’ to the friend on the face as i pass by and i continue on up to the top. After ANOTHER delightful time on the face, with a great photo of my friends below me (see above), i repeat the three raps and the hike all the way down to the car for a refreshing cool drink. The time is 5:15 and the predicted 4:45 thunderstorms had held off and my day was TERRIFIC!!

The cool drinks at the bottom felt very good indeed and this time i felt only slight fatigue in my legs, I guess i am stronger still. Today i climbed roughly 1800 feet in about 3 and a half hours including the hikes in and out.

Yes, my hips are great!!!

Cannon Mountain, New Hampshire, Sept. 2014 --

People keep asking “So, are you still doing ok with those new hips?”, so here is more, I found my friend Kathy, who loves alpine adventures, and we found a free weekend in September with good weather and hiked up the scree to the base of Cannon for some Excellent Rock climbing! At 1500 feet of rock this is New England’s only BIG WALL, and we had three days of FUN exploring it! Each day was an hour hike up the talus, and then pitch after pitch of free climbing. How did my body do? Well, I have long since stopped asking because I am always doing fine, everything is as seamless as it was when I was twenty. All good. What else is there to say? Keep the adventures coming is what I say!!!


Boulder Flatirons — August 25, 2014

This year I bought myself a birthday vacation in Colorado and my choice was to climb in the Boulder area.  Near the end of my stay I was fairly ‘climbed out’ and on my last day I delightfully found myself alone in Chatauqua Park looking up at the the Third Flatiron on a beautiful clear morning.  “Nothing better to do, so this must be the thing to do” …. still I was unsure.  I had never been on the 3rd, didn’t know the route, and was unsure if soloing 900 feet of sandstone was ‘my thing’ that morning.  Well, pausing to feel ‘the vibe’ i decided to hike to the base and look up.  Hmmm, what had looked foreboding from below, now looked inviting from the East Bench… so I went up :) JUHU!!!! I had a desire to stay with the established route, so I carefully scanned for those 5 big ring bolts, each about 150 feet apart, that define the standard route.  I whoooped with delight when finding each one!!  Soon I was at the top, an hour had past, and I had this bird’s eye view of the city of Boulder.  Now, THIS was a nice day :)
As if this wasn’t enough, I chat with some boulderer’s below and one suggests that i ‘cool down now on the 2nd flatiron’…. 
Seems this route is easier than the 3rd, is also often soloed, and has an easy walk off.
So, I soon find myself at it’s base, and I’m looking up…. Indeed, this looks quite nice, so I step off.  About half way up this 400 foot climb I feel coming up from behind another solo climber, and we join for a bit, and soon are on top together.  
JUHU!!! 3rd and 2nd done and i am smiling!!
Of course, there is this remaining Flatiron, the 1st, and indeed it has a solo route as well, so shall we?? Of course!!  And we do :) and it has the most amazing arete finish that will thrill any and all!
With thunderheads rolling in it is time for me to roll down, plus my leg muscles are TIRED!!  Climbing 2000 feet of rock in 5 hours! Time to go find a beer and look back at these wonderful three flatirons outside of Boulder with my big smiles of satisfaction :)  I LUV these new hips!!

March 16, 2014 - Sunday, a beautiful winter day --
Again it is Mt. Monadnock in Jaffery, New Hampshire (see April 15, 2012 post below).  At 3165 feet, it is perhaps the most climbed mountain in North Amercia.  I am solo today.  It is winter conditions.  I am hiking the summit in the late afternoon for the sunset and the full moon rise.  I was just up this mountain yesterday also for the sunset and the full moonrise!!  It was soooo much fun I just had to come back.  The sunset is exquisite tonight!!  The moonrise last night was too cloudy to see well and tonight was too late to wait for because it is COOOLDDD!! and WINNNDDYY!  So, I make a quick descent happy with myself, very happy.  This was my first time back on crampons in winter conditions for mountain climbing since the early 2000’s.  Again, I am testing these new hips which have been with me long enough now and through enough now that I no longer feel any need to test them.  So, I present this blog entry for you to read and for you to see that I am well, I am solid, I am capable, and that I am completely ENJOYING MYSELF!!!

March 14, 2014 — SKATING AS A PASSION — i have linked a video below of me skating this past winter.  I love skating!  Because of my failing hips, I lost my ability to skate in 1997.  It was just too tiring for my muscles and too painful for my hips.  That’s a lot of years to be without something I love so much!  When skating season opened in the winter of 2012, I had two new hips, one of just over a year and one of just under, and they felt great as you can read in these lower blogs.  I was delighted to feel confident to try skating again!  Although my skating felt very awkward being so out-of-practice, I raced recklessly around the rink grinning ear to ear!  Now with three seasons of practice done I have this video for you to see both my stability on these strong and vital new hips and the big smile on my face that this is once again available to me!!  YAHOOO!!

Skating Video click here

BIGWALL BITCHIN’ -- April 29, 2013... now more than two years out on two new hips, I have a new milestone to report.  Having rock climbed most of my years, I carry many hopes and dreams of daring ascents.  During my early climbing years I often succeeded in new and daring accomplishments.   Later years still included daring feats yet perhaps less frequent.  Then the climbs of my still later years were tempered by worn-out hips that were even challenged by bouts of taiji to say nothing of the occasional abbreviated climbing day.  It was then that my remaining unfulfilled climbing dreams were slipping into the ethers.  I sold ice climbing boots and large expedition packs “not for me ever more...”  
    You have read (or can read below) my recent blogs of hip successes and I now have a new one to share.  One of my dreams was completing a “Big Wall” climb, those climbs that measured a 1000 foot plus of vertical technical climbing, often taking more than a day, ... well yes, this was in the older days when it took two to three day for The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite, and today these routes are being done by anybody in one day it seems.  Well, the good news of today is the higher availability of some very high quality bigger wall climbs and last week I was atop one of them.
    Atop a ledge 1500 feet up, seemingly on top of the world, having just climbed 12 pitches of sustained 5.9 and 5.10 climbing, twilight was sending us hints that it was time to get down, quickly.  My friend Mikey had picked me up at Las Vegas airport three days prior and we soon were climbing everything we could find in the Red Rocks Canyons.  From day one, I could hear Mikey speak of finishing my time with him with an all-day route that he had scoped out.  I listened attentively.  I felt strong enough yet deep inside I had a slight question about my new hips.  I had no reason to doubt them.  They have been seamless for me throughout these two plus years.  They have been flawless.  Each new test was another success.  This would be another test.  I wish it to be a success.  Getting back out safely with a sore leg could be quite difficult.
    My excitement was high.  My confidence, too.  I had no indication that my hips would be anything short of stellar.  So, when the day came I wholeheartedly agreed.  
    Having climbed 8 hours straight, my legs were terrific, not a hint of difficulty.  Instead, it was my right arm muscles that were cramping slightly with these many hours of repeated grip actions and not drinking enough water.  This climb also included a 2 1/2 hour approach and a three hour walk out.  The approach and walkout were many hundreds of feet of scrambling and class three climbing as well.  All totaled, it was 16 hours car to car, carrying packs of gear-food-water.  Just the two of us, six pitches for Mikey and six for me and ten rappels brought us back down.
    I have included this blog to share with you what these minihips have done for me and I have included in the gallery above two photos of being on the climb. Perhaps these blogs will help you with any hips solutions you are considering.  I am again very grateful for the recommendation and skilled hands of Dr. Snyder, who made this all possible.   Thank you!

March 23, 2013 -- Saturday -- another wonderful moment in this life of seamless new hips... an evening at the indoor climbing gym, just waiting for spring, when we can finally climb on real rock outside again.  Tonight I spy a cool looking route with a ‘no-hands-stand-up’ high up on the route -- this means a delicate balance move with one foot as the only point of contact, there are no hand holds what-so-ever, and the wall looks steep indeed. 


My last blog entry is about a similar move last summer which most impressed me with this natural seamless ability of my new hips to extreme moves.  My climbing continues to be of such seamless ability opening more and more doors of joy for me.

Tonight is an opportunity to put this move to video so I can post it here for you to see.  It still is amazing for me to feel old worn out hips replaced by new completely natural function and to have my life of climbing back with me.  I rarely give my hips much thought anymore.  They have clearly shown me confidence in everything I do.

Oh yeah, I’ll be two years out from surgery on this right hip come April.

Here’s the video ... YOU INSPIRED?!  I’M HAPPY!! :)

[link to  MINI-HIP STAND-UP video]

 

August 25, 2012 -- Shawangunks Cliffs, New Paltz, NY -- indeed my favorite climbing area ever, a real mecca, and on this day I find myself half way up a very steep and demanding face-climb called SENTE, a climb I last did in 1995, a time when my legs were still competent... So, here in the middle of this strenuous pitch I am balancing on very small footholds, I find that finger holds are no longer available, I can see where I must get to, and the only path seems to be this very high right step ... ... I lift my right leg, high, very high, relaxing the muscles to get that extra inch, and finally I have a firm spot to roll my weight onto, ... ... with my hip flexed so such that my knee is  tucked deep into my armpit, I shift my weight, slowly, this needs to work, I must maintain a steady balance, ... now I need to stand, I find no help from any hands, the wall above is so smooth, ... it seems everything must come from this single right leg, ... ... then it comes to me, “this is a new leg!, this is a new hip!, what will it do???”... ... I am 18 months post-op on this right hip, ... everything feels good, I continue with the weight shift, I commit to it, I begin the muscle contraction, I begin to stand, I watch and feel it all in action, it begins slowly, the muscles are strong and the movement begins, it feels smooth, very slow, ... will it make it?, ... this is a lot of work, lots of strength, soon the body is moving through it, soon I am past the extreme flexion, soon the joint is opening, soon I can feel the ease of standing tall, it all is working, smooth and seamless, and I am able to hold to this very thin face and reach my next hold, .... ... YAHOO!!

Indeed, this is the most and biggest I have yet asked of this new hip and it remains completely seamless, all feelings are completely natural, is there really an artificial hip in here?  I have no indication that this is the case, yet I know it to be so, and I feel huge satisfaction and gracious compassion for what my body has managed to survive.  I am back to climbing at high levels again, back to my skill level of 15 to 20 years ago, and even more so as I do more...

There was a moment this past winter when I was at about 10 months post-op that I found an opportunity to test the strength of this new hip with an extreme move, and the outcome then was so encouraging.  It was the first time that I began to completely trust in the strength available to me.

Today was a much bigger show of joint integrity and strength.  Today it was an extreme flexion where extension had to come from this severe mechanical leverage disadvantage.  My body did it all without a moment of hesitation. Ahh, the rehab then has included all of the needed proprioceptive re-training to release old protective habits, how nice indeed.  Again, I feel the YAHOO bubbling up, with huge smiles....

The surgeon has said from the beginning to live my “normal life” that I am accustomed to, carefully for the first six months, and more rigorously after 12 months... ...

I am now a believer, I am now a grateful believer, ...  BIG SMILES BABE!!!
(photos above)

June 9, 2012 - Saturday, a fun day with my kids and I find a moment to get on film this hoola-hoop exercise that I have included into my fun new hip activities and I share this for your entertainment and perhaps inspiration :)

MiniHip Hoola-hoop video you-tube link

April 15, 2012 - Sunday, a beautiful summer like day --
Today it was Mt. Monadnock in Jaffery, New Hampshire.  At 3165 feet, it is perhaps the most climbed mountain in North Amercia.  I was accompanied by my two youngest children, ages four and eight, being their first time on this mountain and on any “big” mountain from bottom to top.  And make it to the summit they did!  Climbing like mountain goats in the summer-like weather today.

For me it was the blissful reminder that I have legs again, that “I can do anything I so desire”, and I keep seeing more and more ways this is true as each new month opens these new opportunities for me.

Each step up was usually with some child's hand in mine, requiring my balance and strength for their safety as I am their pillar of strength as they laughingly jump from rock to rock!  My life of fearlessness has returned because I can see that my legs clearly are rock solid and capable.

All winter I have been blessed with time for weekly visits to the climbing gym to test these new hips of mine.  Since the 6 month time and now soon to be the 12 month anniversary, I have been increasing my challenge to myself.  I am now up to and beyond my climbing abilities of my prior ten years with no struggles.  I am blessed with fluid movement, delicate balance, and love of it all.

Thank you, thank you , thank you.

being love and appreciation, I am

sincerely

Day